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Spaying and Neutering Myths and Facts

Our rescue strongly advocates spaying and neutering of dogs and cats. There are way too many homeless pets and most of them are euthanized before they have a chance at a real life. There are a lot of myths out there concerning spaying or neutering your pet. However, with the right information, you can come to understand the truths, benefits and importance of spaying and neutering.

This list of Myths and Facts is courtesy of the Found Animals organization:

Myth: It’s healthier for my female to have a litter before I spay her.

Fact: There is no medical evidence to substantiate any benefits to allowing a dog or cat to have a litter before spaying. In Fact, spaying female dogs and cats before their first heat is much easier on your pet. Smaller pets have less body fat, meaning less tissue trauma and less bleeding. Smaller pets need less anesthesia, meaning they will wake faster and in most cases are able to go home the same day. By spaying as early as possible you are being a responsible pet owner by not adding to the homeless pet population.

Myth: My pet’s behavior will change drastically.

Fact: The only behavior changes you will see will be positive! Spaying and neutering your pet will eliminate hormonally influenced behaviors. Your female will avoid going into heat, meaning you won’t have to deal with constant yowling, crying and nervous pacing. Your male pet will have decreased aggression and urges to mount furniture, other pets or people as well as a decreased desire to roam. Since your pet’s number one priority will no longer be looking for a mate, they will have increased concentration and a longer attention span, making them a better companion. Your pets will also be cleaner since they will be spending less time looking for a mate and more time grooming.

Myth: Spaying and neutering is painful and/or dangerous to my pet.

Fact: Spay & neuter surgeries are one of the most routinely performed surgeries for cats and dogs. Most pets go home the same day and are back to normal activities within 24 to 72 hours with a full recovery in 5 to 7 days. Certainly the benefits far outweigh the risks.

Myth: My dog won’t protect me if I neuter him.

Fact: A dog’s personality is based mainly on his genetics and home life. His willingness to protect comes from being part of the family “pack.” If anything, neutering you dog will make him less interested in roaming to look for a mate, thus focusing his energy on pleasing you.

Myth: My pet will get fat, lazy and less attractive.

Fact: Pets become fat and lazy most often because they are overfed and under-exercised. If your pet puts on weight it has nothing to do with the surgery. Cut calories and add in some playtime to keep your pet fit. Keep in mind your pet may still be in the process of growing, especially if you take advantage of an early spay neuter procedure.

Myth: My pet will mourn the loss of his/her ability to reproduce.

Fact: Neither dogs nor cats reproduce to experience motherhood or fatherhood, but purely to protect the survival of their species. Your pet has no understanding or emotional attachment to parenting, sexuality, gender roles or reproduction.

Myth: My pet has the right to have sex.

Fact: By domesticating cats and dogs we have inherited the right to protect them. Lack of a home is the number one killer of cats and dogs; spaying and neutering is the only solution.

Myth: My family should witness the miracle of birth.

Fact: Pets often have their litters in a secluded area, in the middle of the night meaning you may miss the birth. Instead, teach your children humane treatment and kindness to cats and dogs by educating them about the importance of spay neuter.

If you must witness a birth, many rescue and shelter organizations try to help animals that have been abandoned by irresponsible pet owners, many of which are pregnant. Volunteer to foster a pregnant dog or cat. You will be helping the group as well as the animals, all while giving your children the chance to see a litter born and raised.

Myth: My male dog will feel like less of a male, female like less of a woman.

Fact: Dogs and cats do not have concepts of sexuality, gender roles or reproduction like people. Your pet has absolutely no understanding or emotional attachment to these issues. Don’t confuse human sexuality with animal instinct.

Myth: I have a male, he isn’t the one having litters.

Fact: We have yet to witness a cat or dog born from Immaculate Conception. Bottom line, it takes two to tango and only a few seconds for a roaming male to create an unwanted pregnancy. Responsible pet ownership starts with spaying and neutering your pet.

Myth: My dog/cat is an indoor-only pet so I don’t need to spay/neuter.

Fact: This is a common mistake. People only think of the reproductive ramifications of not fixing their pets. In addition to protecting your pet from pregnancy/impregnating should they escape your home, you are offering them a myriad of health and behavioral benefits as well including eliminating the risk of some cancers and decreasing the urge to roam for a mate.

Myth: Animal shelters take care of surplus animals.

Fact: Shelters do their best to place animals in loving homes. Despite efforts many healthy and adoptable animals in our community are still susceptible to an untimely death.

Myth: Animals cannot be fixed until they are 6 months old.

Fact: Spay/neuter procedures can be performed as early as eight weeks of age. Recovery is prompt especially for smaller pets; less body fat means less anesthesia, bleeding and tissue trauma. In most cases your pet can come home the same day.

Myth: Animals cannot get pregnant before their first heat, so I have time.

Fact: You don’t have time. Animals can go into heat as early as 4 months of age. Not only will spaying your pet prevent an unwanted litter, it will alleviate your pet from going through an uncomfortable heat cycle.

Myth: My pet is so special, I want more just like her.

Fact: Professional breeders cannot even guarantee the characteristics a litter will inherit. It is not possible to create a pet identical to your own. Besides, there are plenty of loveable, adoptable shelter pets waiting to be adopted.

Myth: I have good homes lined up for all my puppies and kittens.

Fact: It’s true that you may find homes for your pet’s entire litter. But each home you find means one less home for homeless animals in shelters. Furthermore, in less than one year’s time, each of your pet’s offspring may have his or her own litter, adding even more animals to the population. Then their offspring have offspring and so on and so on. By fixing your one pet you can help save hundreds, if not thousands, of lives.

Myth: There is no need to spay/neuter a purebred.

Fact: Purebreds and their offspring end up in shelters too. In Fact, as many as 25% of shelter pets are purebreds. Once a litter leaves your home you have no control over what kind of cat or dog your litter will be bred with, meaning they too will contribute to the homeless pet population.

Myth: I need to breed my purebred to re-coup the cost I paid for her.

Fact: Breeding is expensive and time-consuming; add up the veterinary bills, shots, food and advertising costs. A significant amount of time is spent caring for new pets and showing them to families. Not to mention, you could put your current pet in danger should she have a complication in the pregnancy.

Myth: Spaying and neutering is too expensive.

Fact: You cannot afford not to spay or neuter your pet! Most areas recognize the abundance of homeless pets as a serious problem. Many offer low-cost and sometimes free spay/neuter clinics. Having a litter of unwanted puppies or kittens will cost you much more than a simple spay/neuter surgery.

Myth: I don’t own a pet so spay neuter is not my problem.

Fact: All of us are affected by homeless pets. Millions of tax dollars are spent annually to round up lost, abandoned, and unwanted pets. Much of that money is spent to destroy these animals when homes cannot be found. Health is threatened by the danger of transmittable diseases such as rabies, as well as animal bites and attacks. Property may be damaged and livestock killed when pets roam in search of food. It is only when all of us assume the responsibility for homeless pets that we will see any decrease in the problem.

Thank you to the Found Animals organization for putting together this list of Myths and Facts about spaying and neutering! Visit their site:

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